Oil-Free Vegan Pesto

Need to whip-up a quick weeknight meal?

It doesn’t get much easier than this raw, vegan pesto sauce.

Simply throw everything into a food processor or blender, and in less than 5 minutes, you’ve got a delicious sauce on your hands–> perfect for serving over your favorite noodles or as a quick veggie dip!

Oil-Free Vegan Pesto
makes about 1 1/2 cups


1 cup diced zucchini
1 handful fresh basil leaves (about 3/4 oz.)
4 garlic cloves (I love garlic, but feel free to use less)
½ cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste


Throw all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend away!

I like my pesto smooth and creamy, so I used my Vitamix for a super-quick sauce– but if you prefer a chunkier texture, simply pulse it in a food processor until evenly broken down.

5 from 1 vote
Vegan Oil-Free Pesto
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins

This pesto recipe is oil-free and dairy-free, with plenty of bright flavor. It can be whipped together in minutes and is delicious over zucchini "noodles" or traditional pasta. 

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 6
Calories: 71 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
  • 1 cup zucchini , diced
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves (about 3/4 oz.)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  1. To prepare the pesto sauce, simply combine the zucchini, basil, garlic, walnuts, water, lemon juice, and salt in a small food processor or blender. Adjust any seasoning to taste and serve immediately over your favorite veggies or pasta.

  2. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

*Note: I added plenty of salt to this pesto sauce (a 1/2 teaspoon) because the flavor will be further diluted when eaten with raw or cooked vegetables. However, if you’re serving the pesto over a bed of salty pasta, or with cheese, you may want to reduce the salt content of the sauce to keep your final dish balanced.

To make your weekday meals even easier, try this tip–> freeze your sauce into ice cube trays, for an easily portioned meal!

These cubes should last for months in the freezer, so you’ll have an easy-to-prepare dinner at your fingertips!


These pesto cubes have made Austin’s dinners SO EASY to prepare lately. I simply grab 4 frozen cubes, and saute them with fresh veggies and a bag of rinsed Miracle Noodles.

Sometimes I add chopped, pre-roasted chicken, too, completely ruining the whole “vegan” factor… but, oh well.

You certainly can’t beat a delicious dinner that’s ready in 10 minutes!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite quick meal? Any time-saving tips to share?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



wow. just wow. poured over store bought gnocchi. licked the plate clean.


I made this 2 years ago for my husband when we were dating and we LOVED it. I just remembered it and am going to use this recipe with my vegan cooking class next month!


Thank you for the inspiration! 😀


Love this pesto! I just enjoyed it over some spiralized carrot noodles from Trader Joe’s, and the flavor was perfect.

Never Miss a Post!

Get a FREE 3-Day Detox Plan when you sign up for my email newsletter